Looks Like a Merry Christmas, Sales-Wise

Despite a bumpy year for retail, holiday sales should rise 3.7 percent this year, and the market for big-ticket items looks strong, the National Retail Federation said.

That sales increase is slightly less than last year’s 4.1 percent gain, the group said, but it tops the 10-year average gain of 2.5 percent.

Online sales are projected to increase between 6 and 8 percent.

NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement that he expects consumers will spend “prudently and deliberately, though still less constrained than what we saw even two years ago.”

 “With several months of solid retail sales behind us, we’re heading into the all-important holiday season fully expecting to see healthy growth,” he said.

First-half sales were disappointing, said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz, but that was also true last year.

He noted that consumer confidence data has held up, and consumer spending is shifting toward big-ticket items.

But he said that slower job growth, deflationary retail price, and the “wild card of government spending debates” could hamper sales.

JCK News Director